By Maria Famakinwa
As teachers in Nigeria days ago joined the rest of the world to celebrate ‘World Teachers Day’ concerned citizens of the country have called on the Federal Government to improve teachers’ welfare for better performance.
Teachers role in the national development of any country cannot be over emphasised. They perform social role by teaching the younger generations how to behave in the society. This many consider a key aspect in the responsibilities of teachers, aside impacting knowledge, which is their primary responsibility among other roles.
Despite many important functions they play in the country, teachers in Nigeria are yet to be given their due respect and honour because of the way they are treated by successive governments. Out of every 100 students, hardly would 10 want to take up teaching as a profession. Even Nigerian parents never wish their children ending up being teachers after their higher institutions. Some landlords do not pray to have teachers as their tenants but prefer to give their houses to lawyers, bankers, doctors and engineers who are taught by teachers.
The Hope spoke with some stakeholders in teaching profession on how to improve the welfare of teachers for best performances. A school proprietor, Mr Taiwo Adetunji who revealed that teachers remain the most significant contributors to education for national developments commended their efforts for shaping lives under the poor condition of service.
While calling on relevant stakeholders in the education sector to give serious attention to the teaching profession, he said, “Giving the important roles teachers play in any society, their status, emoluments and conditions of service must adequately reflect their roles in the country. Gone are the days when teachers receive their rewards in heaven, we want to start our enjoyment right from earth.
“Why is government paying doctors, lawyers, engineers and others mega salaries and pay teachers who taught them peanut? Can anyone graduate without passing through a teacher? Engineer, doctors, bankers, lawyers, architects are tutored by teachers.”
Adetunji appealed to government to increase teachers salaries and other condition of service for them to be respected just as their colleagues in other countries.
Sharing similar sentiment,a private school teacher, Mrs Kemi Ibrahim who described teaching profession as tasking, lamented that teachers both in the private and public schools are not being compensated for their services instead, they are being owed salaries and denied fringe benefits that others in different professions enjoy.
“The role of a teacher goes more than the four corners of a classroom. Teachers inspire hope, ignite imagination and instill love for learning. I can go on and on because teacher’s roles are countless. Why then should they be neglected?”.
Ibrahim said that teachers can only be motivated to put in their best if their welfare is prioritised. She also urged government at all levels to make sure that they organise training for teachers at least twice a year which she observed will improve the quality of service delivery. It also urged government to show interest in the profession and the society will be better for it because it will improve the standard of education in the country. ” There is a popular saying that no country can rise above the quality of its teachers’ the quality of teachers in a country affect greatly the kind of future within the nation.
“We want governments to be sensitive to teacher’s plights because teachers goes to the same market with doctors, lawyers, and others. Neglecting teacher’s welfare will affect their service delivery and can also lead to dearth of qualified teachers in the profession. Most of the students we are teaching never pray to end up as teachers but will be proud to tell you that they want to study medicine, law, or like to work as bankers and other jobs where workers are well paid and respected. This is due to the obvious reason that teachers are not well treated. We want the Federal Government to correct this bad impression by putting teachers in their deserved position according to the importance of the service they render.”
The Area Leader, National Association of Private School Proprietors, Oke -Aro, Akure, Mr Joseph Adekunle while stressing the importance of teachers in a country, said that everyone is a bye -product of a teacher hence, the need to motivate them to put in their best. “A nation without teachers is heading for a doom because a teacher can either make or mar the future of a society. That is why government at every level must encourage them through payment of their salaries as and when due.
“When teachers’ salaries are paid at the right time, they will be motivated to give their best. But it is impossible to give your best when you are being owed salary arrears. We should remember that teachers have families they want to feed and meet other essential needs of their homes. We want to get our rewards here on earth and not in heaven again. So I am using this opportunity to appeal to the Federal, State and Local Governments to encourage teachers in their service delivery because they are moulding our tomorrow leaders and there is no amount paid to teachers that can quantify the stress and efforts put in to impact knowledge.” He urged teachers to continue putting in their best.
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